Blu-Ray Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Put aside execution, inventiveness, and storytelling – not that Star War: The Force Awakens doesn’t excel in those categories. More than anything else, it was and will remain a cinematic experience worth revisiting over and over again. First surprising and nostalgic, J.J. Abrams’ seventh episode in the Star Wars universe is a movie can be played on a loop for years to come, a film that welcomes back the memorable past and leads us into the exciting future.
That there makes it worth securing the home version of the film.
It was a nearly impossible task, especially after the uninspired prequel trilogy made some 15 years ago. Abrams and company had to create a sequel that takes place 30 years late; introduce new characters while resolving and incorporating old ones; tell a new story that is both smart and simple; and of course live up to expectations for one of the most beloved franchises in movie history. This confluence of events might never be recreated again. And it was a pretty fun movie.
The Blu-Ray package for The Force Awakens arrived earlier this month, with the box-office smashing and critically-acclaimed film enhanced by a bevy of special features designed to intrigue and excite. Here’s what we got.
Secrets of The Force Awakens: An hour-long feature goes step by step detailing the work and excitement going into the film, from casting a new generation of heroes and villains to bringing in the veterans, from honouring the original while creating a new story. The cast and crew share their thoughts and experiences, with special attention paid to Han Solo (obviously), but every important detail is dissected in illuminating fashion. An hour is pretty good, but you’ll still want more.
The Table Read: An iconic picture came out of this now famous table read, when the whole cast first came together to go through the script and hear it in its entirety for the first time. This is alluded to in the previous featurette, and unfortunately, this is only a four minute segment and not the entire read. Because seriously, I’m pretty sure a lot of us would watch it. I would. Don’t judge.
Building BB8: Another short but interesting entry details the creation of our new and lovable droid. While impressive, it’s not necessarily the most rewarding. I don’t want to know that he is being wheeled around by some dude in a green suit and isn’t actually real.
Crafting Creatures: A dedication to practical effects helped make The Force Awakens nostalgic and maintain the physical feel of the original trilogy. This short segment goes through the creation for various creatures, including revisiting Chewbacca and making sure he looked just as great as he used too. It’s also pretty funny that the outfit quickly went through wear and tear because everyone wanted to hug him.
Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight: This is a strong second amid the many features, going into detail about the creation of the final, beautiful battle among our new stars. It’s most impressive too: crafted piece by piece on a stage, a snowy forest offered the backdrop for a physically exhausting fight between our young, flawed, and inextricably linked characters.
But wait, there’s more!
ILM: The Visual Magic of the Force.
John Williams: The Seventh Symphony.
Deleted Scenes: The handful of selections here are mostly brief, uneventful clips that serve little to no purpose and are entirely incidental. Save for one: a speeder chase. An unrefined sequence was shot to be included ahead of the final light saber battle, as Finn and Rey are escaping on a speeder across the snowy plains being chased by Storm Troopers. On the service it seems cool because, you know, it’s a chase! But it’s unsure exactly where it would be included and in what context, and even then it still seems sort of unnecessary.
It’s not a perfect film, but it’s a wildly exciting one. The prevailing sentiment of the special features and everything taking place behind the scenes is especially positive: everyone is equally excited, nervous, and honoured to be a part of this cherished universe.